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Privacy Lawsuits Over NSA Spying Force Retention of Metadata

samzenpus posted about 8 months ago | from the keeping-it-a-bit-longer dept.

United States 59

jfruh writes "Under the U.S.'s previously secret program of gathering phone call metadata, that information was only retained for a period of five years. Now the government has petitioned the court system to retain it longer — not because it wants to, it says, but because it needs to preserve it as evidence for the various privacy lawsuits filed against the government. Federal lawyers have suggested several ways the information can be preserved without being available to the NSA."

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Which is the same thing as saying... (1)

rmdingler (1955220) | about 8 months ago | (#46366639)

We're going to keep it anyway, but we'd prefer to have your permission.

Re:Which is the same thing as saying... (3, Interesting)

jafiwam (310805) | about 8 months ago | (#46366741)

It's interesting they are now saying "information that was only retained for a period of five years."

Five years is about as long as some of that stuff has been in place. Which means basically, on their own, none of it has been deleted ever.

Also, this "five years" thing just popped up. I am sure it would have been discussed at length. So it's new, made up information.

And also probably a gigantic, colossal, and obvious LIE.

So THIS now means "don't sue us or we'll go even MORE tyrannical on your ass".

Elections have consequences folks.

Re:Which is the same thing as saying... (4, Insightful)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | about 8 months ago | (#46366777)

Elections have consequences folks.

That's a nice idea. But can you point to a collection of Representatives, Senators, and a President we could have elected over the past 12 years that would have prevented this?

Re:Which is the same thing as saying... (2)

rmdingler (1955220) | about 8 months ago | (#46367031)

Maybe these guys? [comicvine.com]

FBI (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46367417)

The FBI and other agencies have been doing this going much further back then 12 years ago, I still find it amusing when those programs were exposed no one seemed to really care. And those that did where told to fuck off.

Of course we didn't have the internet now whenever this stuff gets exposed everyone still doesn't really care because a majority knew about it. or suspected it. Now everyone wants to file lawsuits lawyers/attorneys are doing this to make names/monies for themselves, not necessarily because they care about stopping it or protecting anyone's rights, in doing so they wouldn't be needed.

You have to entertain the thought that there are forces that run deep within government, and politicians are pretty much puppets, or pawns in chess, they either go along with it or else... And even if they went against it collectively there is a likely chance of other unknown agencies that would be doing it secretively if there not already doing that now. I think the NSA was setup as a PR stunt, to test what people are going to tolerate.

Re:FBI (1)

gIobaljustin (3526197) | about 8 months ago | (#46371815)

because a majority knew about it. or suspected it.

I seriously doubt that. People who said something about it were often labeled as conspiracy nuts. People don't really care because they don't care about freedom, privacy, or the constitution, and believe that they have nothing to fear if they believe they have nothing to hide.

Re:Which is the same thing as saying... (1)

oodaloop (1229816) | about 8 months ago | (#46368271)

Ralph Nader.

Re:Which is the same thing as saying... (1)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | about 8 months ago | (#46368285)

Ralph Nader.

Probably true. But that's just one.

Re:Which is the same thing as saying... (1)

Vitriol+Angst (458300) | about 8 months ago | (#46369951)

Dennis Kucinich.

. so far so good. It gets ruined as soon as a Ron Paul fan jumps in.

Re:Which is the same thing as saying... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46370539)

Mike Gravel?

Re:Which is the same thing as saying... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46371289)

If he'd be willing, Russ Feingold.

Re:Which is the same thing as saying... (1)

Immerman (2627577) | about 8 months ago | (#46368529)

Assuming the NSA wasn't actively threatening/blackmailing politicians into compliance with their long-term goals? Probably most of the third-party candidates, especially those with a libertarian bent. This shit didn't "just happen", there have been deeply entrenched vested interests on both sides of the aisle angling for this for a long time. Hell, I usually ignore elections as ineffective, but if real progress hasn't been made (not just promises) on reigning in the NSA by election day this year I'm standing in line to vote all third-party, and recruiting all my friends to do the same. It may already be too late at this point, but if we don't at least try we've got nobody but ourselves to blame. And a congress packed full of deadlocked ideological nutters that at least kind of want to serve their constituency can only be an improvement over the current situation.

Hell, maybe we could make an event out of it - live music, BBQ, the works. Draw a big crowd to the minimum legal distance from the polling place, and encourage them to vote for anyone without a D or R beside their name. A zero-day "Vote out the Sock Puppets" campaign. Give the apathetic a reason to show up that has nothing to do with politics, and let peer pressure and their own distaste for entrenched politicians do the rest. After all you can listen to music, eat your burger, and generally shoot the shit just as easily while standing in line.

Re:Which is the same thing as saying... (1)

gmanterry (1141623) | about 8 months ago | (#46373109)

Assuming the NSA wasn't actively threatening/blackmailing politicians into compliance with their long-term goals? Probably most of the third-party candidates, especially those with a libertarian bent. This shit didn't "just happen", there have been deeply entrenched vested interests on both sides of the aisle angling for this for a long time. Hell, I usually ignore elections as ineffective, but if real progress hasn't been made (not just promises) on reigning in the NSA by election day this year I'm standing in line to vote all third-party, and recruiting all my friends to do the same. It may already be too late at this point, but if we don't at least try we've got nobody but ourselves to blame. And a congress packed full of deadlocked ideological nutters that at least kind of want to serve their constituency can only be an improvement over the current situation.

Hell, maybe we could make an event out of it - live music, BBQ, the works. Draw a big crowd to the minimum legal distance from the polling place, and encourage them to vote for anyone without a D or R beside their name. A zero-day "Vote out the Sock Puppets" campaign. Give the apathetic a reason to show up that has nothing to do with politics, and let peer pressure and their own distaste for entrenched politicians do the rest. After all you can listen to music, eat your burger, and generally shoot the shit just as easily while standing in line.

This is my greatest concern. Still after all the time this spying has been public, no one seems to think it's a threat to the entire system of government of this Republic. Blackmail. Blackmail. The President of the U.S. and his ruling party which the NSA reports to has the emails and contact lists and meta data of every member of the opposition party. Also the same data on every judge including the Supremes and every reporter in the world. Doesn't anyone except me see that the system can no longer function under these conditions. Add to that secret courts, secret letters requiring further secrecy and as far as I'm concerned, this Republic has evolved into some kind of a fascist state. Nice experiment too bad it only lasted 225 years.

Re:Which is the same thing as saying... (1)

Immerman (2627577) | about 8 months ago | (#46373983)

I think you're making an unfounded assumption when you claim the NSA reports to the president. We've already seen them basically completely ignore the demands he has made of them with regard to spying on our allies, despite being basically the guidelines they themselves recommended (or so I recall hearing, I confess I've stopped paying close attention for the sake of my emotional well-being)

That seems to have always been the danger of secret police - at first they're often beholden to the powers that created them, but very rapidly they come to eclipse all those powers which must expose themselves to the withering eye of the public, and become a power unto themselves - serving no end but that which they choose to serve.

Re: Which is the same thing as saying... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46368551)

Personally I applaud my senator Bernie Sanders for trying to pursue the NSA on this issue, I'd note that even the socialists in the senate disapprove of this big brothering while the core republicans keep standing by silently... Go VT

Re:Which is the same thing as saying... (1)

Mister Liberty (769145) | about 8 months ago | (#46371103)

Elections are no good. Civil disobedience is the keyword.

Ron Paul and Rand Paul (1)

SonicSpike (242293) | about 8 months ago | (#46372765)

Ron Paul and Rand Paul would've prevented it. Also Senator Mike Lee, and Representatives Justin Amash and Thomas Massie. Maybe Rep Dennis Kucinich too, but I'm not completely sure about his civil liberties record.

Re:Which is the same thing as saying... (1)

gmanterry (1141623) | about 8 months ago | (#46373065)

Elections have consequences folks.

That's a nice idea. But can you point to a collection of Representatives, Senators, and a President we could have elected over the past 12 years that would have prevented this?

No.. no... and hell no!!

Re:Which is the same thing as saying... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46366793)

Go easy on the dope. That stuff is making you paranoid

Re:Which is the same thing as saying... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46366835)

Don't tell Obama what to do!

Re:Which is the same thing as saying... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46367215)

Exactly!

In 2008 he campaigned agaisnt all this.
wasn't that enough?

expecting him to follow through those promises is just totally unacceptable.

seriously, he's only had 5 years.

Re:Which is the same thing as saying... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46367863)

Don't forget, not long ago the official position was that the NSA does not "collect" information on Americans. Air quotes since Clapper uses a completely different definition of collect than the rest of us.

Re:Which is the same thing as saying... (1)

Vitriol+Angst (458300) | about 8 months ago | (#46369939)

The keep talking of "the metadata" as if there were an agreed upon term in this context. "What" data other than the routing information is "meta"? Now you and I might say; the email address and routing information -- but aren't we forgetting that the NSA and government are trying to squash the interest in this issue? Couldn't a slippery person portray something like "the relationship data of the person sending, who they send to, the people they commonly send to, the friends and associates of everyone connected to them, a weighting algorithm on the words, analysis (for a computer) of whether the content is negative or positive and some relative understanding of the intent" all in a nice bundle that can be data mined to say; "What kinds of relationships does this person have with all the people they are connected to?

And then we sit around and discuss two, five, or ten years about some imaginary BS that isn't really what the NSA is data mining. For all we know they capture your DNA and grow tiny copies of you for a simulation. They are only admitting to the least damming thing of what Snowden proved was going in, and it's likely he wasn't deeply into ALL of what the NSA and other security organizations are involved in.

It's like using an ordinance against Horse Heads to control the mob from extorting people -- the problem isn't the horse head on your bed -- it's the mob.

WE also have no idea of the INTENT of the NSA -- a point I keep bringing up because this entire program seems useless for capturing terrorists like Al Qaeda.

Re:Which is the same thing as saying... (1)

gIobaljustin (3526197) | about 8 months ago | (#46371915)

a point I keep bringing up because this entire program seems useless for capturing terrorists like Al Qaeda.

Even if the NSA were effective at stopping terrorists, it would *still* be unacceptable, as it violates people's fundamental liberties and the constitution.

Re:Which is the same thing as saying... (1)

StevenMaurer (115071) | about 8 months ago | (#46370117)

Five years is about as long as some of that stuff has been in place.

Seriously you think this started in 2009 ?!?

For your information, stuff MUCH WORSE THAN THE PRESENT DAY NSA started immediately after 9/11, thirteen years ago. It was Speaker Pelosi who cleaned up and reformed the laws to remove the most egregious elements of it [scribd.com]

President Bush’s Warrantless Surveillance Program started after 9/11(known as the “PSP” or “TSP”)

  • Exclusive Means: Absolute Presidential discretion pursuant to the inherent authorities of Article II of the Constitution
  • FISA Court Approval: No provision (i.e. none required)
  • Reverse Targeting: No requirement to protect against reverse targeting.
  • Individual Warrants for Persons Inside the US: No requirement.

PRESIDENT BUSH’S PROTECT AMERICA ACT OF 2007P.L. 110-55, August 5, 2007

  • Exclusive Means: No provision.
  • FISA Court Approval: No requirement for review or pre-approval by FISA court required before surveillance begins
  • Reverse Targeting: No requirement to protect against reverse targeting.
  • Individual Warrants for Persons Inside the US: No requirement.

FISA AMENDMENTS ACT OF 2008PASSED BY DEMOCRATIC CONGRESS P.L. 110-261, July 10, 2008

  • Exclusive Means:
    1. 1. States that FISA and Title III of the criminal code are the “exclusive means” for conducting electronic surveillance and the interception of domestic wire, oral, or electronic communications. (i.e. no trying to justify spying through other "national security" arguments)
    2. 2. States that only express statutory authorization can provide authority for electronic surveillance and/or interceptions.
    3. 3. Ensures that no President can use executive power or Authorization of Use of Military Force (AUMF) like authority to conduct warrantless domestic surveillance.
  • FISA Court Approval:
    1. 1. Requires FISA court review and approval of the AG and DNI’s certification for targeting non-U.S. persons located outside of the U.S.
    2. 2. Requires review and pre-approval by the FISA court of targeting procedures.
    3. 3. Requires review and approval of minimization procedures by the FISA court.
    4. 4. In case of emergency, allows the government immediately to start surveillance. The government must,however, submit its application to the court within 7 days in order to continue surveillance.
  • Reverse Targeting
    1. 1. Expressly prohibits reverse targeting (i.e., targeting anon-U.S. person outside the U.S. in order to target a U.S. person [located anywhere] or a known person located inside the U.S.)
  • Individual Warrants for Persons Inside the US
    1. 1. Clarifies that individual warrants based on probablecause are required to conduct surveillance on any U.S. person (citizen or permanent resident) or any personlocated inside the U.S.

(It goes on.. and on) ....

Please note that THIS WAS ALL DONE BEFORE SNOWDEN. They got rid of a large amount of excesses that happened during the Bush Administration. But now, because President Obama is not attackable on other fronts, the GOP and GOP-voting-"libertarians" are trying to pretend that they weren't far more invasive, when they were in power.

Re:Which is the same thing as saying... (1)

gIobaljustin (3526197) | about 8 months ago | (#46371931)

Individual Warrants for Persons Inside the US

        1. Clarifies that individual warrants based on probablecause are required to conduct surveillance on any U.S. person (citizen or permanent resident) or any personlocated inside the U.S.

Quite obviously not happening. They're collecting everyone's information, essentially.

Regardless of who's worse, no one can deny that Obama, Bush, and their ilk are slimy pieces of shit that don't care about people's rights or the constitution.

Re:Which is the same thing as saying... (1)

StevenMaurer (115071) | about 8 months ago | (#46372221)

Quite obviously not happening. They're collecting everyone's information, essentially.

Regardless of who's worse, no one can deny that Obama, Bush, and their ilk are slimy pieces of shit that don't care about people's rights or the constitution.

Pen-register lists (a.k.a "metadata", a.k.a. "who you called, not what you said") have not been covered since the Supreme Court ruled they didn't require a warrant in 1967. Maybe that ruling was in error, but they're the Supreme Court. They get to decide such things.

It's in the Constitution.

Re:Which is the same thing as saying... (1)

gIobaljustin (3526197) | about 8 months ago | (#46372307)

That ruling was definitely in error, and this is 100% unconstitutional, no matter what some judges may say, or have said. So unless you're going to make a paradoxical statement that the Supreme Court is always right, you should agree with me.

And metadata is nothing more than data. What else is it, if not a kind of data? The funny thing is, the could *just as easily* retrieve the 'actual' data, so what makes that any more private? Nothing but legal fictions.

Re:Which is the same thing as saying... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46369281)

No, it's the same thing as saying:

"we were going to keep it for 5 years and delete it, because it's not useful when it's 5 years old. Now we're transferring it to the courts as evidence."

Seriously. Outrage is one thing, but twisting it into something it's not is just stupid.

Such as what exactly? (1)

mkg (40510) | about 8 months ago | (#46366645)

The public has no idea of the constructs built to handle this type of data. Now that we are being told, indirectly, that it's here to stay, where will it "sit" where agencies cannot get to it? On removable flash drives? Please...

Where is a will (1)

dimko (1166489) | about 8 months ago | (#46366649)

There is a way for NSA to get that information somehow. We know how weasely those guys are...

Re:Where is a will (1)

geekmux (1040042) | about 8 months ago | (#46366825)

There is a way for NSA to get that information somehow. We know how weasely those guys are...

Weasly?

A weasel doesn't stand in plain sight, perform illegal activities right in front of your face, and then turn to you and say, "Tough shit if you don't like it.", which is exactly what the US government has done for a very long time with their arrogant attitude.

Care to tell me how they have changed their illegal gathering of data at all since any of Snowdens data was released? Oh, they claim they have? Yeah, go ahead and prove it. Nothing will change, no matter what the hell you want if they see value in it.

why not consider mercy as justice? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46366683)

end the (violent) crime = (violent &/or (made for tv) dramatic) 'punishment' cycled psychosis,,, take away the drama filled contempt & (usually violent/dramatized) 'punishment' features, then we would appear to be civilized again? free the innocent stem cells & our innocent spirits.... so our shells can operate more smoothly,, never a better time to consider ourselves in relation to each other & our spiritual centerpeace momkind.. thank you

Slashdot only allows....... gadget based solutions & you are not one.

you're going to get it when father time gets home (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46366739)

& that should be soon enough? why not now?

Retention (2)

jma05 (897351) | about 8 months ago | (#46366707)

Does this mean that they will take the data offline and archive it away from their query systems?... such that it is not just another excuse for keep using the data?

What exactly does "longer" mean in their petition? One year, two years? Forever?

Re:Retention (1)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | about 8 months ago | (#46366755)

What exactly does "longer" mean in their petition? One year, two years? Forever?

"longer" means "until all the cases have worked their way through the court system".

Which is effectively the same as "forever".

Re:Retention (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46366813)

As long as the statute of limitations on suing them for this.

It depends on who 'keeps' and who gets to look (1)

AHuxley (892839) | about 8 months ago | (#46372927)

Recall Hemisphere , "US drug agency partners with AT&T for access to 'vast database' of call records"
http://www.theguardian.com/wor... [theguardian.com]
Forever (as in over a human life) seems to be hardware and software level enjoyed and expected.

If it's evidence in a case... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46366817)

If it's evidence in a court case, wouldn't failing to retain it fall under destruction of evidence? Don't they now need to keep it as but not use it?

Re:If it's evidence in a case... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46366847)

That's the reason that the courts need to take possession of the records away from the NSA.

Federal lawyers (1)

canadiannomad (1745008) | about 8 months ago | (#46367043)

Federal lawyers have suggested several ways the information can be preserved without being available to the NSA.

I'm *sure* they are well intentioned, but do we really trust a legal solution to data storage by the NSA?
Or are we trusting lawyers for their technical security knowhow?

Re:Federal lawyers (1)

GodInHell (258915) | about 8 months ago | (#46368565)

Suggestion from a lawyer: Copy to disk drive. Turn off PC. Remove disk drive and place in safe. (Repeat for what could be petabytes of data).

Alternatively, print to hard copy and prepare for histrionics when Defendants find out there are eight warehouses filled with nothing but stored paper copies.

Just on another network.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46367119)

We'll keep it safe, by, ummm, putting it on another network! That way it can be protected & the the NSA cannot get it. For sure!

http://leaksource.info/2013/12/30/nsas-ant-division-catalog-of-exploits-for-nearly-every-major-software-hardware-firmware/

And in another 5 years... (1)

N0Man74 (1620447) | about 8 months ago | (#46367171)

The government can petition to be allowed for it to preserve the preserved metadata, in order to use as evidence in civil suits that result from when it's discovered that the preserved metadata wasn't safe from the NSA after all...

Re:And in another 5 years... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46369271)

no, it will be just like never ending patent and copyrights. Just tweak it, and keep it forever.

Lot's of people keep saying they don't care, because they have nothing to hide (now). What they are doing today, might be very embarressing 30, 40, 50, 100 years from now.

Just imagine what happens in some future to all this personal crap, when they are forced by some law either now or in the future, to declassify automatically all this personal information. Those porn sex chats you had at 18 with your girlfriend, suddenly get dumped on the future internet for your future spouse, kids, employer, to enjoy.

How about when they show up in your future rape trial to prove you were a pervert back in college?

On and on it goes.

Huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46367199)

So you're saying that all the fuss over the NSA retaining data has caused everyone to retain more data longer? My irony meter just pegged.

Generals with benefits (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about 8 months ago | (#46367341)

In a sane world, Clapper and Co would be facing criminal charges.

Re:Generals with benefits (1)

gstoddart (321705) | about 8 months ago | (#46367563)

In a sane world, Clapper and Co would be facing criminal charges.

Or a firing squad.

Re:Generals with benefits (3, Insightful)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 8 months ago | (#46369301)

In a sane world, Clapper and Co would be facing criminal charges.

Then a firing squad.

FTFY

Who (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46367765)

I can not imagine having pockets deep enough to sue the government over NSA activities. First, the deck is stacked against people in such cases. The chances of winning have got to be awful and even if one does win the pay out may be so small as to make the whole affair so expensive that the plaintiff wishes they had never been born. And then there is that entire sovereignty issue waiting in the wings or maybe a claim of national security needs making a trial impossible.
       

Nice rationale (1)

Jawnn (445279) | about 8 months ago | (#46369057)

Sounds a lot like, "But you made me hit you, bitch!"

Can't wait to see these lawsuits go to court (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46369331)

I personally can't wait to see these lawsuits go to court. While I'm not a fan of the program, it's a political issue, not a legal issue. The program was lawful and Constitutional, because it was created via a law passed via the Constitutional process. You eliminate it by eliminating the laws (and potentially voting out the lawmakers who passed it), but the NSA was marching to the orders it was given.

These lawsuits are mostly civil. They're not criminal because they didn't break any laws. To get any money they have to prove damages. That'll be interesting, even with a full disclosure of information from the NSA for evidence, how the hell is metadata collection economically damaging to a person?

The only interesting thing to come of this is for it to go to the Supreme Court and have it be validated or invalidated in light of Katz v. United States and the Open-Fields Doctrine; that decision is the sole issue in the entire body of law that might apply, and it's specifically related to wire-tapping of public phones, not metadata tagging of phone calls for database queries. Again, personally I hope it goes away, but we have a legal process for a reason and this could be a landmark case in terms of what the government is allowed to do; the 4th amendment and the laws and case body surrounding it isn't really clear on metadata.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Katz_v._United_States

Re:Can't wait to see these lawsuits go to court (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46371007)

Actually it is Smith v. Maryland that decided that metadata collection in the form of caller / callee numbers dialed to/from a specific subscriber was constitutional (i.e. that recording the numbers with a "pen register" didn't rise to the level of a search). Of course, many people disagree even with this ruling in its own historical context, but in the Klayman v. Obama case, Judge Richard Leon points out differences in how long the data is stored (versus the very brief time period in Smith), the non-targeted nature of the metadata program (versus the targeted nature of the pen register in the Smith case), and the change in how we are dependent on technology versus we were in Smith (i.e. the same metadata collected today tells the government a lot more about a person than the data did in 1979 with Smith).

So I, along with the Judge, strongly disagree with you that it isn't a legal issue. It is both a political issue and a legal one; since Congress has yet to act, and since it sounds like Obama would probably veto any significant legislation anyway, we need the courts to step in here and do the right thing

Re:Can't wait to see these lawsuits go to court (1)

gIobaljustin (3526197) | about 8 months ago | (#46371419)

The program was lawful and Constitutional

Nope. Just read the damn constitution and get an opinion of your own.

Great legal teams (2)

AHuxley (892839) | about 8 months ago | (#46372951)

Different groups in the US have had some great results in open US court: "program violates the U.S. Constitution":
http://www.freedomwatchusa.org... [freedomwatchusa.org]

New Strategy: Make them save EVERYTHING! (1)

klek (1237566) | about 8 months ago | (#46370115)

They have only x amount of storage, they can't keep everything they have and continue to monitor at the same volume/rate they are doing. So make them keep EVERYTHING they collect, and we'll fill their storage up and stop functional operations. They want our data? Let 'em have ALL of it and then some.

Re:New Strategy: Make them save EVERYTHING! (1)

Kasar (838340) | about 8 months ago | (#46373641)

That was the gist of a Wired article a couple of years ago with statements about the Utah facility, it was designed to have the capacity to archive the internet ten times over and have a supercomputer for cracking encryption. Their stated goal was to capture all digital traffic, especially archiving all encrypted traffic until they could decrypt it. Now that the multi-billion dollar facility is online (and an expansion is being built elsewhere), it turns out that part of Utah doesn't have enough electricity on the grid to feed their facility. This is what happens when you give bureaucrats a blank check.

I wouldn't put it past the NSA... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46372607)

... to secretly fund an organization to sue the NSA. The suing organization wouldn't even necessarily have to know that the NSA was the source of the funding.

Here's the logic: The "golden era" of easy money, compliant governments, and naïve or complicit companies is coming to an end. The NSA is very likely to have it's wings clipped to some greater or lesser degree.

So launch a lawsuit. The legal system will place an ironclad legal hold on that data. Adroitly handled, that could allow the NSA to have access to that data long after they otherwise would have been legally obligated to delete it. They might even be able to drag out the wing-clipping process and get unfettered data feeds long after the politicos discover their conscience and responsibilities.

Prez/Congress/Senate: NSA, you must stop collecting data on Americans.
NSA: Right, so, you understand we really, really want to do that. But there's this lawsuit underway and, you know, there's just nothing we can do. Of course if you change the law...
Prez/Congress/Senate: No, no. Well we're not happy. But the law is the law and our newfound respect for it means we'll just have to wait.
NSA: By the way, we'll be appealing that lawsuit all the way to the Supreme Court. It's going to cost a fortune and will take, oh, about 20 years all told. We're just doing our duty as civil servants you understand and there's nothing we can do differently.
Prez/Congress/Senate: That's gonna make the voters pissed!
NSA: Well, the suit originates with an organization we consider to be closet hippies and Communists. Its a terrible shame. Where, oh where are the patriots of olde? We suggest you blame the hippies and, if you like, we could single them out for some "special attention"...
Prez/Congress/Senate: Let us get back to you on that. You make some good points. Thank you for serving your country! And, considering the costs of the lawsuit and your heroic sacrifices, have an extra billion dollars. Let us know if you need more, no problem.

This is based upon the idea that change is coming regardless. So why not use guile and gum up the works? Slow it down as much as possible.

Sounds like an excuse... (1)

The_Revelation (688580) | about 8 months ago | (#46378421)

.. to lobby more 'infrastructure' grants from the government. All that data doesn't keep itself on-line.
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